Softball Completes Record-Breaking Season

May 23, 2011

The softball program reached remarkable new heights during the 2011 season, as the 30-8 Panthers broke numerous records and garnered several post-season awards. The team broke or tied 25 program records, en route to school-firsts by winning a NESCAC title and making an NCAA post-season appearance.

Head coach Kelly Bevere, a 1999 Middlebury graduate, reached the century mark for career wins in her fifth season at the helm, earning her 100th victory in the NCAA tournament. Bevere holds a career record of 100-67, nearly matching the school’s win total of 104 over the previous nine seasons of the fledgling 14-year program. The 2011 NESCAC Coach of the Year has given the program an overall winning record of 204-191-2.

During their 30-win season, Middlebury went on a school-record winning streak, notching 17 straight wins, highlighted by 11 shutouts. The Panthers out-scored their adversaries 126-11 during the span, allowing no more than two runs in any game, while scoring on average 7.4 runs per contest. Middlebury owned the top conference record at 11-1, winning the West Division of the NESCAC. In the NESCAC tournament, the Panthers went 3-0 to capture their first NESCAC crown. After dropping their NCAA tourney opener, third-seeded Middlebury won their next game before bowing out in an epic 14-inning battle in their third game at the Ithaca Regional.

The Panther offense set several new single-season school records, including: hits (356), runs (233), team BA (.329), RBI (203), doubles (74) and HR’s (14). The Panthers topped the NESCAC in each category, except HR’s, while boasting a conference-best 16 triples.

Individually, four players set season school marks from the batter’s box. Jessica Poracky’s 15 doubles along with Jessa Hoffman’s seven triples and 38 runs were also tops in the NESCAC. Megan Margel’s 48 hits and Emily Burbridge’s six home runs also set new school marks and were good for second in the conference this season. Hoffman, who finished with 41 hits this season, ranked third in the nation as the toughest batter to strike out, getting punched-out just one time in 129 plate appearances.

The quartet are each sitting at or near the top of the offensive career record book. Margel now owns school records in several categories including: batting average (.397), hits (175), RBI (93) and tied Poracky with 22 career doubles. Hoffman is the career leader in triples (13), while Burbridge sits in second place in HR’s with nine.

Inside the pitching circle, Geena Constantin set a school record for career strikeouts, notching 297 K’s, while finishing this season with 90 whiffs over 80 innings, good for second-best in a season at Middlebury. Teammate Elizabeth Morris edged out Constantin with 94 K’s for top season honors for the Panthers in 72.2 innings of work, en route to an 11-2 record. Morris also topped the NESCAC in opponent BA (.150) with Constantin second, owning a .191 opponent BA.

As a trio, Constantin (7-3, 1.31 ERA), Morris (1.16 ERA), and Ali McAnaney (10-1, 1.43 ERA) were the backbone of the pitching staff that led the NESCAC in team ERA (1.16), saves (8), innings pitched (255.2), fewest runs (69), earned runs (48), fewest walks (56) and most strikeouts (264). The collection of hurlers, including Alexa Lensenskyj (2-2, 1.43 ERA), finished the season with a remarkable 0.835 WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched).

Several players collected post-season accolades as Constantin was honored as NESCAC Pitcher of the Year, first team All-NESCAC, second team NFCA All-Region and second team All-New England. Poracky joined Constantin on both the NFCA All-Region and All-NESCAC squads. Hoffman also earned top honors on the All-NESCAC team, while Margel and Morris each earned second team honors.